“Tremendous source of potential”: new proposal for green corridor running along Ochre Dyke in Sheffield

An environmental project focused on a Sheffield stream is aiming to provide health and educational benefits as well as ‘getting the community to own the wildlife corridor’.

Thursday, 8th April 2021, 6:00 am
'Friends of Waterthorpe Park' want to develop a 'Green Corridor'. Picture Scott Merrylees

Proposals have been made to develop and improve the green corridor running along Ochre Dyke stream from Beighton, through Waterthorpe and onto Owlthorpe in South East Sheffield.

Sheffield Council have planted 800 trees, and there are now plans to construct new paths, ponds, and repair and improve steps and railings.

Three groups, the Owlthorpe Action Group, Friends of Waterthorpe, and Beighton Environment Group have come together to form Friends of Ochre Dyke, who will be consulted on the plans.

Phil Jackson from 'Friends of Waterthorpe Park' who want to develop a 'Green Corridor'. Some of the new trees that have been planted. Picture Scott Merrylees

Phil Jackson, secretary of Friends of Waterthorpe Park, said: “Ochre Dyke is a dyke that has run there for years and years and it is on maps going back to the 1850s. It is a tremendous source of potential wildlife habitat.

"When I spoke to one of the ecologists from Sheffield Council, they had looked at this as an area of particular interest, because of the surrounding woodland and the water tributaries.

"By creating some scrapes, holes filled with water, it will allow wildlife to migrate and breed.

"There is also planting of trees: the council have planted 800 trees recently, and we have planted the start of our community orchard, and hopefully in the autumn we will plant the remaining 150 trees. When that starts to produce in four or five year time, that will fund the nature reserve and the wildlife corridor.”

Phil Jackson from 'Friends of Waterthorpe Park' who want to develop a 'Green Corridor'. Picture Scott Merrylees

Friends of Waterthorpe Park has over 450 members, and all have been consulted through online surveys about the development work.

The group have already had £8,000 invested on the project from the South Yorkshire Community Foundation, and the council have said they will try to also invest funds.

"The wildlife corridor does not need a huge amount spending on it, it just needs tidying up a bit, and put the ponds in,” Phil said.

"We also want to create somewhere for people to sit. If we can increase the footfall along the Ochre Dyke that would be great.”

The project will also be used as an educational tool, and will could be used for mental health benefits along the water corridor.

Pupils from nearby Waterthorpe Infant and nursery School and Emmanuel Junior School helped plant 50 trees in February.

Clive Betts, MP for Sheffield South East, said “This is a really promising set of improvements to the areas green spaces that residents will welcome.

"The pandemic has really highlighted the need for local green spaces that can be enjoyed on our doorstep so this particular work I believe is really important to carry out as we come out of lockdown.”

Phil Jackson added: "It is about ownership of projects, that is what we are trying to create. And if we can get the community to own the wildlife corridor, right from Owlthorpe to Beighton, it would be fantastic.”